Saturday, May 17, 2014

But I Don't Want To Be Peter Lawford

I was trying to understand why I found myself stating my disappointments of late, regarding my music life.  It's annoying to most and it's generally not seen as professional.  Aside from the fact that Facebook is a narcotic, most folks recognize that the music landscape has turned upside down.  We applaud the fact that record companies aren't even a second thought anymore, except if you're a young hip-hop artist or a young booty, buxom beauty that can hold a microphone and let the engineers do the rest.

Being an independent artist is the norm these days. Using social media to build an audience, promote shows etc, is what we're all trying to do.  People like what they like, and unlike record companies, people directly aren't as discriminating about age, beauty or even quality.  This is a good thing. If an artist has any hope, it's because the fans want what they are creating.  Sadly, music fans have become dormant and passive. The reasons are understandable.  But artists have a serious problem before them.  If no one is buying their music, why should they produce it?  Because they love it?  Again, If no one is buying music, why are the studios, studio musicians, cd manufacturers, etc., still charging?  Because they don't love what they do?    

It was always seen as unprofessional to talk about our hardships except if you've already achieved fame or someone is talking about you on "Mysteries & Scandals.”  You have to be dead, of course. The thing that has been most frustrating to me is the formality that I have to be silent and pretend that I'm not effected by the lack of tangible support.  There's nothing to hide behind anymore.  If I don't sell a CD, I can't blame the retail stores for placing it in a bad spot. Are we not selling our music because our fans simply don't want it?  I don't really think that's the case. However, I am clueless and puzzled as to what the actual reasons are. Maybe fans don't know the details of today’s musician’s woes.  We spend (a lot) more, and we get nothing in return but debt and anecdotes from people who make their money from other sources.

This has never been an easy business.  I think it's more difficult today, because while it used to be some talent agency or music “authority” who would convince fans to support artists, now it’s entirely up to the artists themselves. Most of us don't have the skills or financial resources to take on this task. The least I can do is talk about it and stop pretending that this is business as usual. Things are different. Very different. We're all stumped.  But there's one thing that hasn't changed - in fact, it's more clear than ever.   If any artist has a chance, it's because you, the fan, values what they do - and lets them know.

ps. I'll be asking for your dough in a few weeks.   :)